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Panicking the diversion of future investments by the international casino operators, Russia’s Primorye gaming zone opted to oppose the escalating gambling taxes.

As the preceding year, Russia gave the go-ahead for the doubling of fixed monthly taxes on gaming tables and slot machines by Russia’s designated casino zones, a considerable number of gaming zones opportunistically augmented their strongboxes.

The government of the Primorsky territory announced this week, about its decision to cling to its gambling taxes at their current rates of RUB125k (US$2,170) for each gaming table and RUB7.5k ($130) for each electronic gaming machine.

Government officials explained they are determined and will adhere to their decision to allure further international casino investment to the Primorye gaming zone. At present, Primorye has one working casino – Tigre de Cristal – and two in-development projects by Russian operator, the Diamond Fortune Holdings and Cambodian casino operator NagaCorp.

In December, Melco Resorts & Entertainment boss, Lawrence Ho sold his stake in Summit Ascent, the company that holds a majority stake in Tigre de Cristal, after expressing frustration over Russia’s increasingly uncertain tax environment.

Taiwan shipping firm, First Steamship subsequently acquired a major stake in Summit Ascent. Primorye officials declared last week that First Steamship has pledged to “take an active part in the development” of the gaming zone, as well as investing in “regional tourism projects that are not related to gambling activities,” the details of which were not specified.

Despite First Steamship’s enthusiasm, Primorye’s lack of critical infrastructure has also helped keep many investors on the sidelines. Last fall, Primorye officials were forced to extend the deadline for an auction of unused land plots, before scrapping the auction altogether due to a lack of bidders.

Source: European Gaming Media and Events